GOOGLE has marked Lunar New Year with a Doodle on its homepage.
The animation shows a ram head-butting a tree until a bee flies out – causing firecrackers to go off and a series of fireworks to spell out “Google“.
This refers to the Chinese celebration of Lunar New Year, which marks today as the beginning of the Year of the Ram.
Chinese New Year is not only celebrated in China.
It is also observed in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.
There is some confusion over whether 2015 is in fact the Year of the Ram, or whether it is actually dedicated to the sheep or the goat.
This is because in Mandaring ‘yang’, meaning ‘horned animal’, covers all three – so nobody is sure which one it really is.
In Chinese culture the color red is considered lucky.
So the Lunar New Year is celebrated by decorating windows and doors with red colored Chinese paper cuttings, as well as couplets with themes of ‘good fortune’, ‘happiness’, ‘wealth’ or ‘longevity’.
~~Lunar New Year – Google Doodle 2015~~
~~Published on Feb 18, 2015~~
Lunar New Year – Google Doodle – Thursday, February 19 – Lunar New Year 2015 Google Doodle!
Google celebrates Lunar New Year 2015 with an animated Google Doodle in the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States.
NOT EVERYTHING SEEMS KOSHER … IN OTHER WORDS, IT SMELLS FISHY
WE NEED TO EDUCATE OURSELVES, STAY INFORMED AND BE ACTIVE
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional regulatory and investment treaty. As of 2014, twelve countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region have participated in negotiations on the TPP: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
The proposed agreement began in 2005 as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4). Participating countries set the goal of wrapping up negotiations in 2012, but contentious issues such as agriculture, intellectual property, and services and investments have caused negotiations to continue into the present, with the last round meeting in Ottawa from 3–12 July 2014. Implementation of the TPP is one of the primary goals of the trade agenda of the Obama administration in the United States of America.
On 12 November 2011, the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership countries announced that the TPP intended to “enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, to promote innovation, economic growth and development, and to support the creation and retention of jobs.” Some global health professionals, internet freedom activists, environmentalists, organized labor, advocacy groups, and elected officials have criticized and protested the negotiations, in large part because of the proceedings’ secrecy, the agreement’s expansive scope, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public.
On 16 October 2014, WikiLeaks released a second updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter.
The TPSEP was previously known as the Pacific Three Closer Economic Partnership (P3-CEP), its negotiations launched on the sidelines of the 2002 APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, by Prime Ministers Helen Clark of New Zealand, Goh Chok Tong of Singapore and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos. Brunei first took part as a full negotiating party in the fifth round of talks in April 2005, after which the trade bloc became known as the Pacific-4 (P4). Although all original and negotiating parties are members of theAsia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the TPSEP and TPP are not APEC initiatives. However, the TPP is considered to be a pathfinder for the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), an APEC initiative.
The original agreement was concluded by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore on 3 June 2005, and entered into force on 28 May 2006 for New Zealand and Singapore, 12 July 2006 for Brunei, and 8 November 2006 for Chile.
It is a comprehensive agreement, affecting trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and competition policy. Among other things, it called for reduction by 90 percent of all tariffs between member countries by 1 January 2006, and reduction of all trade tariffs to zero by the year 2015.
On the last day of the 2010 APEC summit, leaders of the nine negotiating countries endorsed the proposal advanced by US President Barack Obama that set a target for settlement of negotiations by the next APEC summit in November 2011.
However, negotiations have continued through 2012, 2013 and 2014.
President Obama nominated Robert Holleyman as deputy US trade representative. If confirmed by the US Senate, Holleyman will help lead the effort to pass the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Notably, Holleyman is a former lobbyist who led efforts to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation, better known as SOPA, when he was leader of the Business Software Alliance. The SOPA debate (along with its sister legislation, PROTECT-IP, in the Senate) brought a spotlight on industry efforts to undermine Internet freedom through what many considered to be draconian intellectual property policy.
Critics have pointed out, the leaked TPP documents relating to TPP negotiations reveal that the United States is seeking to resurrect portions of the SOPA bill through the TPP, namely, holding Internet Service Providers liable for hosting copyright infringement and extending the copyright life of certain corporate-owned copyrights. As Washington Post blogger Henry Farrell noted, the proposed TPP provisions suggest the deal will advance intellectual property rules that “could not be achieved through an open democratic process.”
During the SOPA debate, Holleyman was chief executive of the Business Software Alliance, a trade group for software companies including IBM. Holleyman commended then – Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith for his work in sponsoring SOPA and for pushing for its passage. In 2012, as the bill worked its way through Congress, the BSA spent over $1.6 million on lobbying. After widespread outrage against the bill, which eventually failed, BSA withdrew official support and sought similar policy changes through other legislation.
~~What is The TPP?~~
~~Published on Nov 11, 2013~~
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (or TPP for short) is being negotiated in secret between more than 12 countries around the Pacific region. Find out why it poses a huge threat to your digital freedoms.
~~TPP: The Dirtiest Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of~~
“The young, free to act on their initiative, can lead their elders in the direction of the unknown … The children, the young, must ask the questions that we would never think to ask, but enough trust must be re-established so that the elders will be permitted to work with them on the answers.” ~~Margaret Mead~~
A child named Josef sits on a stone porch outside his home in Chupon, Peru on Sept. 1, 2014. The village lies in the Peruvian Andes in the province of Ayacucho, and houses about 30 peasants who subsist on farming corn and potatoes.
“IOTD” is image of the day, a concept I came up with. I teach visual meditative therapy – or in easy terms – a mini mental holiday. For some people it is very difficult for them to get their image right. I post an image a day for people to use in their mini mental vacay. Some are serious, some are silly, and some are just beautiful!”